Southwest ups in-flight viewing with on-demand TV and movies

Besides live television streaming, the Dallas-based airline rolls out more on-board entertainment through its Wi-Fi network.

Southwest Airlines now offers on-demand movies and television. Southwest Airlines

People flying on Southwest Airlines can now watch on-demand movies and TV on their tablets, smartphones, and laptops via the planes' Wi-Fi.

The airline announced today that it's boosting its in-flight entertainment to include new movie and television packages. This feature is available on all Wi-Fi-equipped aircrafts, which is about 75 percent of the Southwest's fleet.

"Providing a comprehensive and robust in-flight connectivity system for our customers is paramount," Southwest Airlines' senior vice president of business development Dave Ridley said in a statement.

Southwest now boasts eight channels of live television, which customers can stream directly on their devices. As of today, the airline will also offer on-demand episodes of popular TV shows.

The on-demand feature comes for a small fee, however. One movie costs $5 per device and the TV package is $5 per day per device. Just Wi-Fi is $8 per day per device.

Southwest outfitted its planes with Wi-Fi by using Row 44 satellite technology. Customers can connect to the service by clicking "southwestwifi" from the Wi-Fi networks listed on their personal devices. From there, users can select Wi-Fi, movies, or television.

Several airlines have been expanding their Wi-Fi and in-flight entertainment options over the past couple of years. JetBlue announced last fall that it would be launching fast free in-flight Wi-Fi in 2013 for an initial trial period. And, in 2011, Virgin America stepped up its Wi-Fi service by offering Gogo's next-generation ATG-4 service.

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